ABRS+ Trustee Roundup

Posted on 1st December 2021

As a member dedicated association, the ABRS+ wants to keep you informed. As well as the ABRS+ News page for important member news, We now have a regular ABRS+ Trustee Roundup, enabling you to see what happens behind the scenes, and how much work and planning goes into the support and resources we are able to offer and other actions of interest.

You can also find out more about who our trustees are, their roles and their experience here.

| 13.03.2022: George Baber working with BE on Safeguarding Developments

George Baber, Director of Operations for the ABRS+, attended the British Equestrian (BE) Safeguarding Action Team (SAT) Meeting on Weds 16 Mar.  The SAT is responsible for co-ordinating safeguarding measures across the Member Bodies of BE. Safeguarding remains a critical issue across BE and its member bodies. This meeting was centered around the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill 2021 which is in its final stages of approval, awaiting Royal Assent.  This Bill brings major changes to Safeguarding in Sport, which all riding establishments should understand, and George attended this meeting to ensure he can assist our members in understanding the requirements and taking the necessary safeguardung steps in their establishments. You can see more details of the meeting here.

| 05.03.2022: Investigating the Current Issues surrounding Licensing for Establishments

Further to new changes brought in to the licensing guidance in February 2022, the ABRS+ have been proactive in supporting their members in understanding and raising points at industry level. This has included lots of work from ABRS+ Director of Member Operations George Baber who created a document outlining these changes and hosted a discussion forum (open to non-members too) to inform and clarify these changes and what they may mean. This meeting brought up further points that were raised in a meeting with key industry figures at the start of March, as well as the George and ABRS+ Trustee and centre owner Paula Leverton of Four Winds Equestrian Centre being included in an article in Horse and Hound referring to the challenges the industry faces with these licensing concerns. George and ABRS+ Chair Jane Williams also met with British Equestrian CEO Jim Eyre, and Winnie Murphy British Equestrian Head of Communications on Friday 4 Mar 22 to discuss the issues identified by Members on Council Licensing.

| 02.03.2022 : Trustees in the Saddle

ABRS+ Trustee and Treasurer Carolyn Fiddes took advantage of the lovely weather (and no wind) last weekend, having birthday kisses (hers not his) from the awesome Jasper before a session in the school. Doing what Jasper loves best – jumping. As Carolyn says “As a grass roots rider, it’s always fun to get some practice in.“

Meanwhile, ABRS+ Trustee and Director of PR & Marketing Cheryl Johns, who lives in southwest France, had her first experience of a riding lesson in French at the equestrian centre L’Academie des Arts Chevaleresques. Being entrusted with the centre owners own mare Tetel, “after 30 years in the saddle and having learned to ride in the UK, it was certainly a change in riding style but interesting to see how, despite this, the similarities in style of teaching and set up that European riding schools have”.  As the ABRS+ has member centres across Europe, it’s useful to have a little insight into their operations and differences to those in the UK.

Centre équestre l’Académie des Arts Chevaleresques”

| 29.01.2022: Trustee Carolyn Fiddes visits Wildwoods Riding Centre

“Had a great session at Wildwoods Riding Centre in Surrey on Saturday. One of our amazing ABRS Approved Riding Schools, run by the wonderful Anthea Chambers. I’ve ridden there over a number of years. But thought it was good for me to reset my balance on Trojan – the mechanical horse. And added Franklin balls to the process – courtesy of Claire Dodds, BHS Stage 4 Senior Coach in Complete Horsemanship, UKCC Level 2. Franklin balls really help to work on your symmetry (you sit on a peanut and place balls under your thighs and arms – eventually). On Trojan, it means you can focus on yourself, not the horse. It really helps you to sit deeper. Also worth a try on a real horse. I’ve done this on my amazing Jasper but only managed trot!

And I get a printout at the end – tells me too much right leg! So pleased we have such good coaching and facilities available. Thank you Anthea and Claire.”


| 13.01.2022: Trustee and Director of Member Operations George Baber takes a beach ride in St Lucia!

ABRS+ trustees keep checking out riding locations even when on holiday.  I rode, with my family, at Sandy Hoofs which is the only Riding School on the Island of St Lucia.  Open for 2 years and run by owners, Keri and Josh de Freitas, Sandy Hoofs provides trekking for tourist visitors and riding lessons for local children.

I rode Atlanta, a spirited 15.2hh Thoroughbred/Creole cross on a three hour trek that included three beaches and an amazing swim with my horse in the Sea – a great experience in a wonderfully warm Atlantic Ocean.  The horses were in great condition, well behaved and, with Josh being the only qualified farrier in St Lucia, well shod!  On the day we rode, Keri opened her newly constructed outdoor arena, (the only one on St Lucia) which will allow her to teach local St Lucian children to ride.  There are no qualified instructors on St Lucia – everyone is pretty much self taught (Keri has FEI Level 1) so she is looking for Volunteer Instructors (accommodation and car provided) who might join her on St Lucia for a 2 to 3 month stint to teach the local children (anyone interested let me know).  At the moment, much of the riding uses Western Saddles.  An impressed equestrian trekking client has donated three English saddles and Keri is looking for more donations to enable better teaching for kids and schooling for horses.

I was massively impressed by Keri’s commitment (and that of her staff), and her desire to bring riding to her local community. I was equally impressed by the quality of the horses.  An experience that my family and I will long remember and a lesson in what can be achieved in challenging circumstances.


| 16.12.2021: Chairs Visit to London International Horse Show (formerly Olympia!) 

We all know Christmas has arrived when Olympia pops up on our screens, or rather this year the London International Horse Show following its move to the Excel Centre. Chair Jane Williams visited the event and had the delight of watching the carriage driving and the household cavalry, (the latter in the warm up area), and fantastic to see some of the Equestrian Team GB Olympic Medallists competing in the Santa Stakes.

| 03.12.2021: Touching Base at Santolina Stables

I visited Debbie Maclean, owner of Santolina Stables in Wokingham for feedback on trading at her centre, recent CIEC Level 1 Course, and suggestions to boost our membership proposition, always under review by the Board.  Also to ride again on Henry, a long-standing and valued member of the equine team at Santolina.  We had a lovely time!

| 17.10.2021: Out and About at Equestrian Venues- by Jane Williams ABRS+ Chair

Last weekend, Merlo and I visited the BHS Horse Trials at Twesledown in Hampshire. It was a very well organsied event with beautifully built fences and excellent facilities. Well done to all who took part.

As well as this, last week I visited the beautiful Saddlers Hall in Central London for an event organised by The Worshipful Company of HR Professionals. The Worshipful Company of Saddlers is one of the very oldest of the City of London Livery companies. The earliest surviving records of a Guild of Saddlers in London date from circa 1160 AD, although the Guild could well pre-date that. Today, the Saddlers’ Company still has a close interest in, and involvement with, its original trade. This is exemplified in its

 support of the Society of Master Saddlers, its leadership of the development of saddlery training standards, its support of saddlery trainees and apprentices through bursaries, awards, and prizes, and its promotion of British saddlery, as well as hosting many prestigious equestrian events and meetings for other well known charities and organisations.

| 13.10.2021: Chair Jane Williams attends Sport and Recreation Alliance AGM

The ABRS+ Chair, Jane Williams, yesterday attended the Sport and Recreation Alliance AGM conference and spoke with Leigh Thompson, Head of Policy at the SRA about the need for Business Rate Relief for Riding Schools.

This is an aspect of the industry that hugely affects riding schools due to increasing business rates, and the ABRS+ have been lobbying hard to raise the issue and attempt to obtain a rate relief for riding centres. Jane also had the opportunity to speak to the HRH Earl of Wessex, President of the SRA,  and brief him on the issues faced by centre owners.

The ABRS+ are members of the SRA, and allow us to represent our members in the sporting sector to improve the industry. Going forward, we plan two lobbying campaigns for business rate relief and council licensing inconsistencies, and obtaining the support of the SRA is key to this.

We know that the Government plans to review BRR this autumn so we will be monitoring the progress on this and updating our members in due course.


| 22.08.2021: Jane Williams (Chair) Drops into Borde Hill Horse Trials

Chair Jane popped in to her local BE event last weekend to introduce herself to organisers and spend a day spectating the action with her dog Merlo at the Borde Hill Estate in Haywards Heath. Well done to all volunteers, officials and competitors for such a great event with a wonderful atmosphere.


| 21.07.2021: Getting the ABRS+ in Front of Horse Owners and Riders by Cheryl Johns ABRS+ Director of PR and Marketing

In my role as PR and Marketing Director, I have been building on relationships with equestrian publications to not only spread the word of the ABRS+ memberships but also as part of the ABRS+ mission to educate riders and horse owners of all ages as to what to look for when choosing a riding establishment or livery yard. The more our high standards become the norm the better for all concerned!


We now have a regular column in the bi-monthly Absolute Horse magazine on a range of topics relating to our members and their riders. The first was about the adaptation of our centres due to the Covid pandemic. More details here

We have also had a great introductory article published in Everything Horse about the changes to the ABRS+, the development of our member services and memberships and the positive way in which we have been able to help our members through the pandemic. You can read about that here

All of our media appearances are posted to the ABRS+ News page, and also shared to our Facebook page. If you have an idea for something to be included in one of our articles, then please get in touch office@abrs-info.org


| 14.06.2021: Reaction and Response to Member Feedback Survey – by Cheryl Johns ABRS+ Director of PR and Marketing

Following the feedback from members in our recent member survey, one of the highlighted issues was the difficulty faced by members and the ABRS+ team to support our members as much as we would like to face to face due to the COVID restrictions. As a member-led association, our community is hugely important to us. Especially in recent times, we need our members to feel supported and promoted on all levels.

We are currently developing an updated website to make the resources clearer, and the website easier to use. Within this, we will be adding lots of member-led content for our members to share their news, for the ABRS+ trustees and directors to share what we are up to in the background, and for you to see the work put in to promoting and supporting our members. Whilst face-to-face communication, training and approvals have been hard since spring 2020, we are still working hard in the background to support you all!


| 18.06.2021: CIEC Workshops- by Jane Williams ABRS+ Chair

Myself and ABRS+ Coaching Coordinator Debbie Maclean attended a meeting with First4Sport this week on improving the course delivery for the Certificate in Equestrian Coaching (CIEC) qualifications. This is something that the ABRS+ has offered for some time, but has become increasingly difficult delivering face-to-face courses since the Covid pandemic arrived. It is hoped that this refresher will enable to restart of regular courses across the UK.

If you’d like more information on any upcoming courses, the CIEC training or any other aspect of professional development, please see our Education section or contact the office office@abrs-info.org



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